Using the Novation Twitch with Ableton Live

Novation's Twitch is ideally suited to work with Serato ITCH... but it doesn't stop there. Tadhg Leonard shows how you can expertly set up Twitch as a controller for Ableton Live.  

Are you an Ableton DJ? Looking for a suitable controller to complement your set up? Then Novation's Twitch might be just the solution you are looking for. 

In this tutorial, we will run through some of the many ways you can combine Ableton and Twitch to bring your DJ sets to the optimum level.

Step 1 - Configuring

Firstly, to make sure that Twitch can talk to Ableton correctly, you need to download the Live Twitch Translator from the Novation website. Once this is downloaded open up the Live Twitch Translator (after connecting your hardware) and make sure the in and out sections are both set to 'Twitch'. 

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Now open up Ableton itself, and in the MIDI Sync tab in preferences select Remote ON for both Remote SL (Twitch) Input and Output.

MIDI Sync tab

Now let the mapping begin...

Step 2 - Basic DJ Setup

Considering the Twitch has a similar look to that of a traditional DJ mixer, let's start by mapping the traditional DJ controls to the relevant parameters in Ableton. Create two tracks in Live and name them Deck A and Deck B. Then drag the EQ 3 and Utility Plug-ins onto both tracks. Turn on MIDI Mapping (Command-M) and assign Low, Mid, High dials with the similarly named knobs on the Twitch. 

Also assign the Gain on the Utility Plug In with the Trim knob on the left for Deck A and the Trim knob on the right with Deck B. Now assign the faders on both tracks and crossfader with their corresponding faders on the Twitch. 

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The Twitch can also be used as a four-out audio interface with the Master section being used to control your master and cueing levels. 

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Step 3 - Filter and Scroll

The touchstrips on the Twitch are ideal for filtering so start off by placing a low and high pass filter on each track. The swipe and drop modes can be used to switch the two filter types so map the frequency of the LP to the touchstrip when 'swipe' is selected and the frequency on the HP when 'drop' is selected.  

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Another advantage for using Twitch with Ableton is the fact that it has a number of endless rotary encoders which are perfect for scrolling through scenes in Live. When you open up mapping in Ableton, you will see four small buttons appear below the stop clips section on the master channel. Map the far right button to one of the rotary encoders by turning it and map the far left button to the same encoder by pressing down on it. Now you can scroll up and down through your set and press down to launch a scene. 

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Step 4 - Performance Pads

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The four performance modes with eight pads on each side give you sixty-four different mappable options. These pads are ideal for controlling your drum racks, effects and launching one shot samples. If you create a drum rack track loaded with drum samples, you can play your drums using the pads as long as the drum rack track is armed. Another good tip is to create an audio effects rack with eight of your favorite effects and map the on/off switch of each effect to a pad on the Twitch. 

These are just a few suggestions of how to get the most from combining Twitch with Ableton. Feel free to put forward your own suggestions!

I have been an audio enthusiast and DJ hobbyist since I was a young lad. I currently work as a researcher on The Gadget Show on Channel 5 in the UK where I specialize in all the audio and music tech related content on the show. Before that I have worked in the sound department on a number of feature films doing everything from locati... Read More


I am having issues with the pads. I want to set them to launch clips, which i have done fine.

so the left side 8 pads launch 8 different 4 bar clips on "performance mode" - HOT CUES.

I want to map the next 8 pads in "performance mode" - SLICER to 8 different clips on another instrument. or even the same instrument.

the PROBLEM: when i switch performance mode it does nothing essentially, the light switches on but when i try to map the 8 pads it just overrides or add's on top of the previous 8 that i had mapped.

running on macbook pro, ableton live 9.

any help would be great.
also can you get one rotary nob, like the "pitch nob" (or any) to be able to scroll up and down your scene launch's?

i've been able to get it to go either up or down, never both.

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